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Utility software company takes new tack

Ejasent decides to adopt an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy and to start partnering with larger, established companies with utility-computing efforts in place.

Ejasent, a company that sells utility-computing software, has replaced its chief executive and adopted a new strategy to cooperate with its erstwhile competitors.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company this week named Jason Donahue to be president and CEO, replacing Kevin Vitale, who has "moved on to other ventures," said Charu Gupta, Ejasent's director of product management. At the same time, the company is changing its strategy and looking to partner with larger established companies with utility-computing efforts, rather than trying to sell its software on its own, Gupta said.

"The change in strategy is being driven primarily by a recognition by our board that enterprises are beginning to adopt utility-computing solutions--but are getting these solutions from the main systems and information technology vendors," Gupta said Thursday. Ejasent can help round out the portfolio these larger companies offer to customers that need a full suite of management tools, she said.

Utility computing involves pooling computing resources and letting many different tasks draw on them. The goal is to reduce management costs while extracting more use out of existing computing gear and building a system that can adapt quickly to changing business needs. However, the task is complex, requiring sophisticated management software to control and monitor multiple jobs running on a fast-changing infrastructure.

Several large companies, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Veritas, Computer Associates and Microsoft, have utility-computing efforts under way. But the market hasn't been easy for a number of start-ups, and many have been snapped up by these larger companies.

Sun acquired three in the last year:

Gupta isn't worried about Ejasent's prospects, though. "Ejasent is well-supported by our investors, and we have made some gains in revenue acquisition over the past year," she said.

Ejasent has software for several utility-computing tasks, including "virtualizing" computing equipment so it's easier to move tasks from one hardware device to another.

Its new CEO, Donohue, previously was Chief Executive of TeleComputing, a company that runs clients' computing applications, and led the spinoff of hosting company Apptix. Donohue also was executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the Telecom, Media and Networks group at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.